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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > East Midlands > Private client > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Acclaimed as ‘knowledgeable and personable’, Arnold Thomson is active in the full spectrum of agricultural property-related mandates. Among other commercial matters, clients turn to the team for advice on tenancy agreements, options and development work, partnership agreements and renewable energy concerns. Standout lawyer Matt Hawkins is ‘excellent with development work’ and also excels in inheritance tax planning, specifically in relation to Agricultural Property Relief and Business Property Relief. The group works closely with the tax, trusts, wills and probate team to provide agricultural clients with related advice.

Practice head(s):Matt Hawkins, Mike Thomson, Kate Austin, Nadiya Virani-Bland and Christine Simkins


'Kate Austin is excellent with land sales, as is Nadiya Viriani Bland with wills, tax and probate'.

'They are very accessible, professional and accurate'.

'They have a no nonsense practical approach with client care uppermost in their minds'.

'Kate Austin is a fantastic individual. She is patient, helpful and professional, always looking at the bigger picture'.

'They are swift to respond to queries and work well together as a team.'

'All members of staff have a caring attitude, and put their clients interests first.  Everyone is knowledgeable in their own field'.

'Nadiya Virani-Bland always makes time for enquiries, and never seems to be clock watching'.

Work highlights

  • Acted for a client in the sale of agricultural land for £3.65m  
  • Advising two landowners on a promotion agreement on land estimated at £19m.
  • Administering the estate of a deceased client worth approximately £6m.
  • Advising a client on lifetime planning.
  • Acted for  the client on the surrender of an Agricultural Holding Act and Farm Business Tenancies to the Crown.

Hewitsons impresses through its ‘attention to detail’ and ‘practical advice’. Its client base includes substantial landed estates, in addition to major producers of cereals, potatoes, herbs, vegetable and livestock. Particularly strong on the transaction front, the team is well-versed in acting for farmers and rural estate owners on the disposal of agricultural land for residential and commercial developments. Renewables are an additional area of expertise, with the workload increasingly consisting of matters related to solar farms and battery storage. The ‘bright, hard-working and reliableGareth Williams leads the department, which includes rising star Stephanie Dennis.

Practice head(s):Gareth Williams

Other key lawyers:Stephanie Dennis


'They are an efficient, knowledgeable team, which is able to advise and carry out work on a variety of topics'.

'Stephanie Dennis is very diligent, efficient and communicative. Her work is always carried out with complete professionalism and skill'.

'The whole team offers excellent customer service, being responsive and timely with its advice'.

'Gareth Williams has a practical and proactive approach to projects, which is often missing elsewhere'.

Key Clients

Compton Estates

Wistow Estate. Leicestershire

Bedford Estates

Merton College, Oxford

Homes England

Watford Estate, Northamptonshire

Northern Family, Bedfordshire

Arbury Estate, Warwickshire

Work highlights

  • Acting for a farming client in connection with the proposed transfer of a substantial farming Estate to a new trust, together with a refinance worth in excess of £10m.
  • Acting on an option for a sustainable urban extension in the north west of England.
  • Acting in connection with the succession to an AHA tenancy.
  • Advising on the restructuring of substantial internal tenancies.  
  • Sale of land for development to two developers with deferred payments secured by charges and overages.

Langleys Solicitors LLP's team distinguishes itself through ‘excellent knowledge and timeliness’, according to clients. Françoise Vandale heads up the practice, which advises its farming client base on the full range of agri-property and tenancy matters. Areas of specialist knowledge include agricultural tenancies, mineral and renewable-related instructions, pipelines and other easements, as well as residential and commercial development opportunities. Succession planning (namely agricultural and business reliefs) is also an area of focus for the team.

Practice head(s):Françoise Vandale

Other key lawyers:David Wood; Andrew Fearn

Work highlights

  • Acted for a landowner on its granting of an option and time limited deed of easement to run cables connected to an offshore windfarm.
  • Advised a charity landlord on Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 tenancy matters.
  • Acted for the purchaser on the acquisition of a 485 acre farm.
  • Acted for the seller on the £2m disposal of part of a farm by formal tender.
  • Advised a tenant client on its surrender of its AHA tenancy.

Roythornes Solicitors’ ‘quality team of specialists’ covers a wide range of transactions, including leasehold arrangements, developments, sustainable energy projects and agricultural land sales. Alconbury-based Julie Robinson serves as practice head, overseeing a team that also advises on Common Agricultural Policy, the implications of Brexit, joint ventures, farm tenancies and contracting arrangements. Emma Hill is an expert on poultry rearing agreements and poultry farm business tenancies (FBTs); she recently made partner together with Alice Lees. The team also includes the highly recommended Alan Plummer.

Practice head(s):Julie Robinson

Other key lawyers:Alan Plummer; Simeon Disley; Tom Foottit; Alice Lees; Emma Hill

Key Clients

The Woodland Trust

Work highlights

  • Acted for a client on the complex purchase of a significant farming interest involving in excess of 40 titles.
  • Assisted a client with the multimillion pound sale of agricultural land for development.
  • Advising the next generation of a Cambridgeshire farming family on succession to a traditional Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy.
  • Assisted a client with the complex sale of a farm, involving complicated corporate and taxation advice.
  • Specialist advice to the poultry sector.

At Wilkin Chapman LLP, practice head Catherine Harris handles all areas of agricultural law, including large scale transactions, farming subsidies and environmental schemes, agricultural tenancies, restructuring and succession planning. The wider team is also adept in development work, renewable energy, easements and farm diversification. Claire Hindmarsh recently arrived from Roythornes Solicitors, bolstering the group’s transactional expertise.

Practice head(s):Catherine Harris

Other key lawyers:Claire Hindmarsh; James Lloyd; Flora Bennett

Key Clients

Lindsay Marsh Drainage Board

Work highlights

  • Partition of land.
  • Sale of a farm and woodland.
  • Purchase of a half share in a farm.
  • Purchase of 333 acres of arable land and entitlements with bank funding.

BHW Solicitors’ department is jointly led by Kate Chorley, Eleanor Rattay and Ian Sanders. It is particularly well-regarded for transactions, acting on the acquisition and disposal of farms, agricultural land, woodland, country houses and equestrian properties. Additional areas of expertise include option and promotion agreements, renewable energy contracts and development agreements. The group's knowledge of secured lending transactions has been bolstered by the arrival of Kate Burlinson from Spearing Waite.

Practice head(s):Kate Chorley, Eleanor Rattay and Ian Sanders

Key Clients

Natwest Bank




Beesley – Garden Centre

Cadeby Tree Sales Limited

Venture Homes (Midlands) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted on the sale of a client’s agricultural land to a significant residential developer.
  • Acting for NatWest Bank on funding the purchase of agricultural land worth £5 million.
  • Acting for a client on the refinancing of a substantial farmland in Appleby Magna, Leicestershire.
  • Advising a pension scheme on the purchase of agricultural and other land with bank funding.
  • Acting for Cadeby Tree Sales on the proposed letting of two Christmas tree farm sites in Leicestershire.

The ‘highly recommended’ team at Browne Jacobson LLP is ‘capable and available whenever needed’. A broad cross-section of services is provided by the group, with it offering specialist advice on insurance, renewable energy and regulatory matters, and also providing assistance with transactions and strategic land developments. Robert Wofinden and William Colacicchi jointly lead the group, which counts a number of public sector entities as key clients in its roster. Tim Edds is a new arrival, having previously served as in-house counsel at the Welsh Government.

Practice head(s):Robert Wofinden and William Colacicch

Other key lawyers:Georgina Euden


'A very personable service'.

'Robert Wofinden always makes himself available, providing great advice when needed'.


Key Clients

The National Trust

Environment Agency

Natural England

Homes and Communities Agency

Peak District National Park Authority

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Natural Resources Body for Wales

British Trust for Ornithology

Welsh Government

Northern Ireland Ombudsman

Marine Management Organisation

Work highlights

  • Advising Natural England on the applicability of the Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) (England) No2 Regulations 2006 to a historic orchard and the effect of the application to turn part of it into a horse gallop.
  • Representing the Welsh Government at a hearing in front of the Independent Farmers and Foresters Appeal panel.
  • Acting for a client who entered into a sale contract in 2015 for the sale of a substantial area of agricultural land for residential development, and which it wished to bring to an end.
  • Advising Natural Resources Wales on an appeal of a consent granted under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1983.

Boutique firm Nigel Davis Solicitor offers ‘excellent, specialist agricultural advice in a considered, practical and accessible way’. The team covers the entire spectrum of related matters, including dispute resolution, estate planning, wills, trusts and probate, sport rights and divorce. Led by Matthew Elias and Liz Power, it also has ‘strong experience in property contracts for developments and agricultural land transactions’.

Practice head(s):Matthew Elias and Liz Power

Other key lawyers:Oliver Wilson; Vito Berzanskis; Jacqui Mann


'Liz Power is a well prepared and impressive associate with good knowledge of her specialist areas.'

'Vito Berzanskis provides a good analysis of the party's requirements and has the ability to provide clear instructions'

'Vito Berzanskis has proved to have excellent client focus, and consistently provides considered practical advise to a range of clients, addressing their objectives and concerns'.

Key Clients

Boden & Davies ltd

ISJ Farming

Whitehouse Construction Co Ltd

McClure Timber Supplies Ltd

Greenwood Forest Products UK Ltd

Work highlights

  • Complex farming partnership dispute involving re-balancing partnership accounts.
  • Complex claim for proprietary estoppel, agricultural tenancies and development issues involving 6 family members.
  • Administration of an Estate with assets including  a farm and a small let estate worth more than £5m and successfully ensuring that no IHT was payable.
  • Life time succession planning managing to reduce the tax on a £5m Estate.
  • Advised on £11m development deal involving promotion and option agreements.

Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

At Browne Jacobson LLP, practice head Catherine Rustomji and her team are 'very knowledgeable and pleasant to work with’. The group represents charities, not-for-profit organisations, social enterprises and charity trustees from a broad range of sectors, including health, education and arts. The group provides the full scope of advice to clients, with a particular focus on constitutional and governance matters, property development and investment. It also undertakes regulatory work, namely Charity Commission inquiries and investigations.

Practice head(s):Catherine Rustomji

Other key lawyers:Robert Wofinden; Andrew Hopkin


'They are always very responsive and supportive. Nothing is too much trouble'.

'Catherine Rustomji is a great help'.

Key Clients

Nottingham Playhouse Limited

Nottingham Castle Trust

Skill Force Development

National Forest Company

Ashwood Church

Christian Endeavour Holiday Centres Limited

Derby Hospitals Charitable Trust

Earl of Rutland and Dr Fleming’s Hospital Trust

European Association for Cancer Research

Greater Nottingham Groundwork Trust

Heart of Experian

Nottingham Contemporary

Nottingham Roman Catholic Diocesan Trustees

University of Nottingham Students’ Union

St John Ambulance

Work highlights

  • Provide constitutional, commercial and property advice to Nottingham Castle Foundation on the ongoing development of the Castle and surrounding areas.
  • Advice to The National Forest Company on trustee succession planning, strategic governance advice and amendments to the charity’s governing document.
  • Assisted Skill Force Development with the amendment of governing document for its operations in Scotland, as well as sensitive employment, contractual, commercial and data protection advice.
  • Advice to Birtenshaw on matters such as charity law and governance, employment and HR, property and commercial issues.
  • Advising The Running Bee Foundation (a new charity) on the structure, the inter-relationship with the parent organisation and its registration at the Charity Commission.  

The ‘range of expertise is outstanding’ at Hewitsons, with the team acting for a host of service-providing, corporate, grant-making and education charities, in addition to various other non-profit organisations. Practice head Chris Knight deploys his ‘vast knowledge of the charity sector’ in governance, commercial, regulatory and contentious matters. The group is also experienced in handling mergers and redevelopments.

Practice head(s):Chris Knight

Other key lawyers:Virginia Henley; Stephen Cole


'They have a close knit team that keeps all of its members in the loop'.

'They are readily available'.

'Chris Knight is quick to grasp the issues being faced. His manner is always pleasant and engaging, and his explanations clear'.

Key Clients

Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust

Psoriasis Association

Oundle School

Community Spaces Northampton

Theotokos Romanian Church

Northamptonshire Association for the Blind

Jesus Army Charitable Trust

Sir Thomas White’s Northampton Charity

Northamptonshire Choral Foundation Ltd

Becketts and Sargeants Educational Foundation

Bedfordshire Charitable Trust

Kathleen and Michael Connolly Foundation

Woburn Estate / Woburn 1986

Thomas Christie Almshouse and Relief in Need Charity

Northamptonshire ACRE

Davidge Usher Trust

Northamptonshire Industrial Training Association

The Good Loaf

Nottingham Castle Trust

Roger and Jean Jefcoate Trust

Sports Chaplaincy UK

Kelmarsh Trust

Lamport Hall Preservation Trust

Headway Northampton

The Combined Harpole Charitable Trust

Will Woodlands

Frederick and Phyllis Cann Charitable Trust

Thomas and Rosemary Greenhalgh Charitable Trust

The Henry and Elizabeth Lineham Fund

The Finnis Scott Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advising Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust on the lease and operational transfer from a local authority of an important heritage destination.
  • Advising Nottingham Castle Trust on the transfer of operational responsibility from the city council.
  • Assisting the Psoriasis Association (an established unincorporated association) with converting into a charitable incorporated organisation.
  • Assisting Romanian Orthodox Church (Theotokos) Northampton with the establishment of a new charity for the purpose of religious services, community support and networking opportunities for the local Romanian community.
  • Advising Community Spaces Northampton on liability and risk considerations associated with it taking on the lease and management of a brand new community centre from Northampton Borough Council.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited’s ‘very efficient' group 'operates with knowledge and understanding’ of a broad range of charities. It demonstrates strength in employment, property, IT, trusts, financial, corporate and education matters. James Coningsby heads up the ‘very helpful and pleasant team’, which is also active in charity-related court proceedings and mediations.

Practice head(s):James Coningsby 

Other key lawyers:Chris Adams; Richard Grosberg


'Craig Staten-Spencer is very engaged with our work and fully focused. He works efficiently, communicates well and is very supportive'.

'The team is well briefed , competent , polite and efficient at all times'.

'Richard Grosberg and Craig Staten-Spencer  are well informed and provide advice that can be relied on'.

Andrew Wilkinson's team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP is reputed for its expertise in administering grant-making and government-funded charities. It also undertakes a wide-range of registration, governance, property, corporate transactions, regulatory and employment matters. Sectors of particular expertise include social housing, animal charities and education. The group also acts for a number of charitable trustees and directors of not-for-profit organisations.

Practice head(s):Andrew Wilkinson

Other key lawyers:Mark Dunkley

Key Clients

Midland Heart


University of Warwick

Work highlights

  • Assisting Midland Heart with its Fully Mutual Housing Association strategy, as well as property management services.

Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Clients recommend Freeths LLP for its ‘very good technical knowledge’ and ability to handle ‘complex claims’. Under the leadership of Mark Keeley, the group undertakes a wide range of high-value litigation, including will challenges, removal applications and Court of Protection work. Estoppel claims and Inheritance Act matters are other strengths, as is the department’s knowledge of the agriculture sector. Director Rachel Gaffney is noted for her ‘excellent legal advice’.

Practice head(s):Mark Keeley

Other key lawyers:Rachel Gaffney


 'Mark Keeley is good with clients and knows his stuff'

'The team has real strength in depth. It is well respected and ably led by Mark Keeely'.

'Mark Keeley has excellent personable skills, enabling him to quickly build a rapport with clients and other parties alike.  He is a very able technician who is also able very quickly to deliver pragmatic commercial solutions in the best interests of his clients'.

'They are incisive, commercially minded and technically excellent'.

'Rachel Gaffney is prompt and efficient. She has an awareness of practical and commercial considerations'.


Lawyers at Nelsons Solicitors Limited have ‘a breadth of specialist knowledge’, which is evidenced across all forms of contentious trusts and probate litigation. Recent work included a number of high-value Inheritance Act matters, will disputes and estoppel claims. Kevin Modiri leads the team, which includes recently promoted partner Lewis Addison (who is a member of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists). Associate Lewis Hastie is also a key figure.

Practice head(s):Kevin Modiri;

Other key lawyers:Lewis Addison; Lewis Hastie


'There is seamless coordination between fee earners when necessary'.

'A reliable, robust, firm which fights its client's corner effectively'.

'Lewis Hastie is a good and effective solicitor, who is proportionate and effective in his approach to cases. He works hard for his clients'

Roythornes Solicitors attracts particular praise for its work on proprietary estoppel matters, and it also has a strong track record in wills and trust disputes, Court of Protection matters and Inheritance Act claims. The ‘very capable and unflappableTim Russ serves as practice head, and his team is noted for its 'in-depth knowledge' and ‘strength in the agricultural sector’.

Practice head(s):Tim Russ;

Other key lawyers:Sarah Whitehurst;


'The firm has strength in the agricultural sector'.

'Tim Russ is a very capable and unflappable litigator'.


Work highlights

  • Assisted a client with a proprietary estoppel claim relating to a farm in North Lincolnshire.
  • Dispute to secure a farm worth £7.25m.
  • Acting for a client on a well-publicised Inheritance Act Claim.
  • Assisted a client with a claim relating to a grandson being left out of list of beneficiaries.
  • Advised a client on a complex discretionary trust matter.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP demonstrates strong capabilities in will disputes, Inheritance Act claims, Court of Protection work and related professional negligence, among other matters. It generates work from private clients, accountants, farmers, landed estates and professional trustees, among others. The department (which is adept in cross-border work) is led by Andrew Wilkinson, who continues to develop a notable reputation in the charities sector.

Practice head(s):Andrew Wilkinson

Other key lawyers:Debra Burton

Work highlights

  • Assisted a client with successfully defending a late claim for financial provision from her father’s estate under the 1975 Act.

Flint Bishop LLP generates a significant flow of work from beneficiaries, trustees and executors. Practice head Lorna Trueman has vast experience of will challenges, executor removals, rectification, trust and Inheritance Act claims and trustee disputes. The team also specialises in professional negligence claims involving trusts and estates, as well as legacy claims and fraud issues in the charities sector.

Practice head(s):Lorna Trueman;

Other key lawyers:Sundeep Sandhu;

Work highlights

  • Acted for a beneficiary in defending an Inheritance Act 1975 claim made against an estate worth circa £1.2m.
  • Successfully handled a complex and heavily disputed probate fraud claim and an application pursuant to Section 50 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985 to remove executors.
  • Acted for a personal representative and beneficiary in a complex claim that involved issues of proprietary estoppel, trusts and a claim pursuant to the Inheritance Act 1975 against 21 different defendants.
  • A claim under the Inheritance Act 1975 whereby the former unmarried partner of the deceased sought reasonable financial provision from the deceased’s estate consisting of several investment properties and worth in excess of £700k.
  • Acted for beneficiaries in a claim against an estate of £1.3m, consisting of allegations of the existence of a trust over a share portfolio worth a considerable sum and breach of that trust.

Gateley Plc covers the gamut of disputes, including claims of proprietary estoppel, applications to remove executors and breaches of trusts. Professional negligence (particularly in relation to solicitors and will writers) is an area of notable strength. The group also advises clients on various non-contentious issues. Chris Greenwell, Claire Herbert and Fiona Debney jointly lead the department.

Practice head(s):Chris Greenwell; Claire Herbert; Fiona Debney;

Smith Partnershipworks extremely hard on the client’s behalf’, undertaking Inheritance Act claims and will challenges, as well as disputes over property trusts, the administration of estates and the occupation of land. Recently promoted partner Jak Ward, who is the practice head, has an ‘increasing and impressive depth of specialist knowledge’ and he operates with ‘care, precision and a keen eye for detail’.

Practice head(s):Jak Ward


'Jak Ward is always very honest and has the client's interests at heart'.

'The work Jak produces is always thorough and well-prepared, reflecting his natural ability and legal acumen'.

'Jak is extremely capable and has a good, relaxed manner.  Easy to work with'.

Work highlights

  • Acting for a grandchild seeking financial provision from her grandparents’ estates in the manner envisaged by their unsigned mirror wills.
  • Assisting an executor of a will with defending claims made against her by her co-executor, who alleges that she financially abused the deceased, abusing a Lasting Power of Attorney, during the deceased’s lifetime.
  • Successfully defended an estate from a proposed claim by a long-term cohabitee for financial provision from an estate.
  • Assisted a client with investigating the circumstances surrounding the preparation and execution by the deceased of a death-bed will.
  • Assisting an estate beneficiary with obtaining a full and proper inventory and account for an estate, which an obstructive personal representative failed to administer.

Praised for its ‘strong level of knowledge’ and ‘impressive work rate’, the team at Sills & Betteridge LLP is well-regarded for proprietary estoppel and financial provision claims, will disputes, applications to remove executors and trust-related litigation. The ‘excellentDavid John co-heads the practice alongside Karen Bower-Brown. Also integral to the team is recently promoted partner Robert Pearson, who handles a number of Inheritance Act claims.

Practice head(s):David John; Karen Bower-Brown;

Other key lawyers:Robert Pearson; Gary Phillips;


'They get the best result. Highly recommended and totally trusted'.

'Karen Bower-Brown works extremely hard to get me the best results, she is quick to respond, very kind and understanding'.

'Really good level of legal knowledge and a friendly practice'.

'David John is absolutely excellent in my case; he explains the whole process and makes the client feel at ease. He is very friendly and professional at all times'.

Work highlights

  • Acting for beneficiary of a large estate after administrators were appointed due to difficult family relationships.
  • Acting for a professional executor who was being sued personally by the beneficiaries.
  • Acting for an elderly widower who believes his late wife changed her will under the undue influence of her children from her first marriage.
  • Acted for executors in relation to claim to realise the estate’s beneficial interest in a property.
  • Acting for children of the deceased in Inheritance Act Claim.


Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Freeths LLP has a notable profile among high net-worth individuals. It excels in handling financial issues arising from divorce, with cases often involving pensions, family business interests and trusts. Judith Speed is increasingly sought out for advice on pre- and post-nuptial agreements, as well as private law Children Act applications. The practice is jointly led by Speed and Diana Copestake.

Practice head(s):Judith Speed; Diana Copestake;


'Judith Speed is a calm and rather understated lawyer, who has a wonderful grasp of her area of expertise which she puts to the good use of her clients.'

'Judith Speed always has all aspects of the case under control'.

The team at niche family firm John Hooper & Co is highly regarded for divorcing spouses and separating cohabitees matters. Disputes involving children are an additional strength, particularly in the context of financial applications under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. ‘Knowledgeable' practice head John Hooper is ‘loved by clients’ and ‘cannot be faulted’. The group’s knowledge also encompasses international family law, financial settlements, civil partnerships and pre-nuptial agreements.

Practice head(s):John Hooper;

Other key lawyers:Tim Quincey; Philippa Sanderson;

Recommended for its ‘prompt and personal attention’, Langleys Solicitors LLP's team handles divorces, financial disputes, Schedule 1 and TOLATA applications, and pre- and post-nuptial agreements. The firm is also home to a specialist team for child-related instructions, which undertakes domestic abuse cases alongside public and private law matters. John Conlon heads the group, which demonstrates experience in representing high-net-worth and agricultural clients. A significant number of mandates involve businesses, trusts or an international element.

Practice head(s):John Conlon;

Other key lawyers:Emma Lawler; Alison McGowan;


'They provide prompt and personal attention with a practical approach'.

Work highlights

  • Represented the husband in financial proceedings with assets in excess of £8m.
  • Successfully negotiated a settlement at FDR in a case involving complex pension issues and assets of £1.5 million.
  • Represents the wife in a farming divorce involving complex issues relating to a partnership dispute.
  • Represented a child in public law proceedings.
  • Represented the wife in financial proceedings and successfully defeated conduct arguments presented against the client.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited has an excellent reputation in financial relief cases involving high-net-worth individuals and complicated child-related proceedings. The ‘focused, pragmatic and well likedKelvin Henderson, who leads the family department, specialises in divorces, financial disputes between cohabitees and pension matters. His team also has specialist expertise in marriage annulments and pre- and post-nuptial agreements. The children law practice is led by Melanie Bridgen, who handles stranded spouse, wardship, surrogacy and step-parent adoption cases, among others. Clients include entrepreneurs, business owners, company directors and private individuals from the farming sector. Gareth Protheroe, a specialist in Children Act proceedings, recently made associate.

Practice head(s):Kelvin Henderson; Melanie Bridgen;

Other key lawyers:Victor Collins; Emma Davies; Gareth Protheroe;


'They are well known for public child care work and domestic violence cases'.

'Kelvin Henderson is very highly regarded. He is a worthy opponent, focussed, pragmatic and well liked'.

'Melanie Bridgen is a feisty, experienced child care lawyer who goes the extra mile for clients'.

'Gareth Protheroe is very knowledgeable and  approachable'.


Work highlights

  • Represented a client on a claim under the Trusts of Land and Appointment.
  • Representing a client in connection with a Financial Order application.
  • Acting for a client in regards to an application for financial remedy, as the respondent had previously been served with a freezing order and search order.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s ‘heavy-hitting’ practice is reputed for its preparation of nuptial agreements and its knowledge of financial disputes stemming from relationship breakdowns. Child-related disputes are also a field of expertise, namely contact, residence disputes and matters involving jurisdictional issues, along with a growing number of Schedule 1 applications. Katherine Marshall and Caroline Elliott jointly lead the practice, following the departure of Andrew Breakwell. Recent hire Stephanie Kyriacou, who moved from Glynis Wright & Co, joined a team which includes the 'approachable and sensible' Sonia Bachu.

Practice head(s):Katherine Marshall; Caroline Elliott;

Other key lawyers:Sonia Bachu;


'Sonia Bachu is approachable and sensible but tough enough to fight the most difficult cases'.

'Caroline Elliott adopts a pragmatic approach and is keen to avoid costly litigation where possible'.

Work highlights

  • Represented the husband in long standing, highly publicised financial remedy proceedings in a case where the wife sought £520m.

Clients recommend Smith Partnership for its ‘superior legal knowledge and advice’. The family team, which is led by Ruth Jones, excels in the financial aspects of breakdowns in marriages. Also notable is that the practice has had a marked uptick in cohabitee disputes. Muctar Johal is ‘up to date on new case law’ and leads the childcare practice. His team represents children, guardians, parents, carers and local authorities on a broad range of issues, including sexual abuse and non-accidental injuries, as well as care, supervision, adoption, placement and secure accommodation orders.

Practice head(s):Ruth Jones; Muctar Johal;

Other key lawyers:Peter Dadswell; Rebecca Wallis;


'The legal knowledge and advice that is given - especially by Muctar Johal - is superior to advice from other legal firms'.

'Muctar Johal is up to date with all case law'.

'Peter Dadswell is attentive and delivers constructive legal advice. His written communication is understandable, technically precise and to-the-point'.

Work highlights

  • Appointed by CAFCASS to represent a child in an application for a Specific Issue Order made by her mother to allow her child to be immunised in accordance with the recommendations set out in the Green Book, this was rejected by the father.
  • Appointed by CAFCASS to represent a baby boy taken to hospital and found to have suffered bilateral parietal skull fractures when he was 6 weeks of age, the treating clinicians rejected the parents' explanation of an accidental fall.

Wilkin Chapman LLP is noted for its ‘broad experience and expertise’. Its team handles a wide range of divorce cases, including those involving members of the armed forces, farming-related matters, and other work comprising of business and trust elements. The ‘technically soundLisa Boileau leads the team, which also specialises in pre-nuptial agreements. The recent arrival of senior solicitor Faye Bentley from Diane Genders Specialist Solicitors, has bolstered the group’s offering on child-related work.

Practice head(s):Lisa Boileau;

Other key lawyers:Mark Carlton; Faye Bentley


'A competent family law team based in a commercial practice'.

'Lisa Boileau provides a personable and professional approach. She is technically sound and gives pragmatic advice'.

Banner Jones Solicitors is active in a broad spectrum of family matters, including divorce, civil partnership dissolution, ancillary relief, pre-nuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements and domestic violence. Kelly Parks is the overall head of the family law department, while Helena Downing, an expert on non-accidental and neglect cases, leads the care practice. Child-related adoption, guardianship and abduction matters are other key strengths, as are cases with an international element. Shetal Gudgeon is noted for her ‘outstanding knowledge’, she recently joined the firm from Best Solicitors.

Practice head(s):Kelly Parks; Helena Downing;

Other key lawyers:Shetal Gudgeon;


'Shetal Gudgeon treats domestic abuse clients with respect and understanding. Her knowledge is outstanding'.

Work highlights

  • Representing a client and child who fled from the opponent due to domestic violence and abuse.
  • Represented the respondent in defended divorce proceedings.
  • Represented the applicant in an application for child arrangements that was successful despite the client not being the biological father.  

Flint Bishop LLP fields a ‘strong team of very senior and capable solicitors’. The practice is geared towards representing high-net-worth clients, handling complicated financial issues and matters involving arrangements for children. Department head Kirpal Bidmead is an ‘outstanding children solicitor’, and her team regularly handles cases involving a cross-border element, including jurisdictions such as China, Hong Kong and Dubai. The arrivals of Angela Davis and Kate Keenan from Shakespeare Martineau LLP have expanded the practice.

Practice head(s):Kirpal Bidmead


'The team is strong in numbers of very senior and capable children solicitors. They work very well together as a team and clients know that each member of the team is available to assist them'.

'Kirpal Bidmead heads the team and is an outstanding children solicitor. She manages expectations with a calmness that inspires absolute confidence in her'.


Geldards LLP has ‘a strong presence in the Derby market, offering coverage of all aspects of family law’. Medium to high-net-worth financial remedy cases are the team’s speciality, particularly those involving trusts, businesses, farming assets, inherited or family-controlled assets, pre-nuptial deeds and same sex marriage or civil partnership breakdowns. Fiona Apthorpe is ‘an excellent head of department’. The group also includes Ben Lawson, who has specialist knowledge of TOLATA matters. Recently promoted partner Claire Dean  is experienced in family cases involving domestic abuse issues.

Practice head(s):Fiona Apthorpe;

Other key lawyers:Claire Dean; Ben Lawson;


'The team at Geldards specialises in high net worth divorce cases including complex issues such as family trusts and issues surrounding agricultural divorces'.

'The team is a leading firm in the East Midlands, with it having an excellent reputation across Nottingham, Derby and beyond'.

'The team at Geldards is always available to speak with directly and has an in-depth knowledge of every case it deals with'.

'Fiona Apthorpe is the go-to person for family law matters within the region'.

'Claire Dean is able to support Fiona Apthorpe and brings a can do attitude to clients. Claire is not afraid to give proactive advice and will not settle for anything less than a good outcome for her clients'.

'Fiona Apthorpe is an excellent practitioner with years of experience ,she handles clients expectations and manages matters with confidence and care'.

Howes Percival LLP is ‘capable of dealing with high-value and complex family law work’. Although financial cases (particularly those involving land and estate, tax, business and jurisdictional issues) are at the heart of the caseload, the team also undertakes a broad range of other family and child-related instructions. Examples include divorce and civil partnership dissolution, Children Act proceedings and cohabitation agreements. Amy Walpole and the ‘detailed, methodicalJustine Flack jointly co-head the practice, which counts high net-worth individuals, CEOs, medical consultants and other professionals as key clients.

Practice head(s):Amy Walpole; Justine Flack;


' They are Among only a handful of firms in the East Midlands capable of dealing with high value and complex family law work'.

'Justine Flack has a detailed, methodical approach which instills confidence in clients and gets results'.

'They work together well, clearly good communication between the team members.

'Justine Flack understands the complications around divorce and approaches this difficult process with clear guidance and advice. She is entirely focused on good outcomes for her clients'.

Work highlights

  • Representing the husband, who is a director and a shareholder in a significant local business, in divorce proceedings.

Hailed for its ‘excellent service’, Rothera Sharp Solicitors’ varied workload encompasses pre- and post-nuptial agreements, collaborative matters and all aspects of divorce and separation. Disputes involving children (including those heard in the High Court) are also a particular strength, as is the team’s niche expertise in advising clients undergoing transgender-realignment surgery. Paul Cobb serves as the department head. 'Meticulous' and 'thorough' associate Sally Hartland is recommended for parental disputes involving issues such as contact, residency and domestic violence.

Practice head(s):Paul Cobb;

Other key lawyers:Joanne Millward; Ann-Marie Bowman; Sally Hartland;


'They provide an excellent service on very sensitive and upsetting issues'.

'Concerns and queries are always addressed promptly'.

'Sally Hartland is meticulous, thorough, empathetic and possesses qualities that are of a very caring nature'.

Specialist firm Woolley & Co, Solicitors has a well-regarded team, which is sought out for contested divorces involving children, high-value financial settlement disputes, cross-border finance and pension disputes. There has also been a recent increase in TOLATA and cohabitation-related mandates. The client base spans high-net-worth individuals, farmers, company directors and British expats. Kate Butler, Michelle Brammer, Kate Brooks and Andrew Robotham are names to note.

Other key lawyers:Kate Butler; Michelle Brammer; Andrew Robotham; Kate Brooks;


'They make themselves available almost 24/7 and give a really personal service to their clients They go above and beyond in the service they provide in the most sensitive of circumstances'.

'Andrew Robotham's qualities are numerous. He is able to combine empathy for the situation as well as total professionalism that the circumstances demand'.

'Kate Butler is extremely hard working and is robust in progressing her client's cases. She is knowledgeable and pragmatic in her approach aiming to reach a settlement if that is in her client's interest but prepared to fight hard within the court process if necessary'.

Work highlights

  • Acted for a client in a multimillion pound contested financial remedy case.
  • Advised a client on divorce and financial arrangements involving property, pension and inherited assets.
  • Advised a client on divorce and financial settlement, involving family businesses, holiday let properties and complex trust arrangements.
  • Advised client on financial remedy with properties in Nigeria and third-party intervener in Angola.
  • Advised client on contested private law s8 Children Act application.

Swati Somaiya is a new name at Knights PLC and her arrival follows the firm’s acquisition of Spearing Waite in 2018. Somaiya specialises in the resolution of financial issues arising from divorce and civil partnership dissolution, and she regularly advises high-net-worth individuals who own property, business interests and large pension pots. In addition, she assists clients with pre- and post-nuptial agreements, cohabitation contracts and various matters involving children.

Practice head(s):Swati Somaiya;

Sills & Betteridge LLP offers ‘a rare combination of commitment to the client, excellent knowledge of the law and imagination’. The matrimonial and finance department is active in pre- and post-nuptial agreements, cases involving public service pensions, matters with cross-border elements and private children law proceedings. The firm is also home to an emergency injunction and care team, which works to obtain protective injunctions for domestic abuse victims. The group grew substantially over the past year, most notably with the arrival of new partner Siobhan Thompson from Family Law Group.

Practice head(s):Helen Derby; Chrystal Theofanous; Mo Hayes; Nicholas Flatt;

Other key lawyers:Siobhan Thompson; John Mitchell;


'Sills and Betteridge is one of the top firms in Lincolnshire for dealing with complex financial remedies cases. With offices across Lincolnshire, and now Nottingham, it attracts some of the most complex divorce cases in the area'.

'Their particular strength is their strength in depth of good lawyers who can deal with such cases, including an excellent bunch of young lawyers progressing through the ranks'.

'The team is always friendly, professional and accommodating. They are organised and have produced excellent documentation'.

'John Mitchell clearly has many years of experience. The advice and guidance is always pragmatic and clear'.

'Siobhan Thompson is a very hard working person. She cares a great deal  about children. In court, she is always very professional and efficient with all the parties'.

'A rare combination of commitment to the client, excellent knowledge of the law and imagination'.

'John Mitchell is an outstanding strategist. Chrystal Theofanous could not be more enthusiastic and has a great instinct for the good legal point. Mo Hayes is very intelligent and and a very able lawyer. Nick Flatt is extraordinarily dynamic and committed'.

'The family team is excellent for the way it deals with clients on a personal basis, and builds empathy with them to understand their situation'.

Work highlights

  • Successful appeal to the Court of Appeal on grounds of procedural unfairness and duress following an Interim Care Order.
  • Acting for young Mother, whose baby was subject to care proceedings in a successful challenge of Local Authority Care Plan and High Court appeal.
  • Acted for Mother, whose baby was subject to care proceedings in a challenge to a Circuit Judge’s decision to refuse an expert opinion.
  • Acting for the husband in an application for financial relief following an overseas divorce  under Part III of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984.
  • Acted for the wife in financial proceedings involving a lengthy marriage and division of significant Armed Forces Pension.

Specialist family law firm Turner Nicholson advises clients on the full range of relationship issues, including divorce, pre-nuptial cases and financial settlements. Matters involving children are also a key strength. Clients include entrepreneurs, city professionals, academics and landowners. Among the key names is founder and name partner Brigid Turner. Helen Taylor moved to Shoosmiths LLP.

Wilson Browne Solicitors is distinguished by its ‘professionalism and ability to get things done above all expectations’. The group assists clients with all aspects of relationship breakdowns, including contact and resident agreements (in relation to children) and financial matters. Practice head Sally Robinson   acts for public sector workers, business owners and professionals, among other clients. Her team has specific expertise in matters involving business and farming assets, inheritance and pension interests. Joe O’Brien, who recently joined from Brethertons LLP, 'never fails to impress',

Practice head(s):Sally Robinson;

Other key lawyers:Helen York; Ed Rawlins;


'Helen York grasps problems immediately and is always available for timely advice. The turn round of documents was very quick and efficient'.


At Gateley Plc, ‘service standards are high’ and lawyers are ‘very proactive’. Led by the ‘first classJane Cowley, the team is advises on divorce, cohabitation agreements, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and private law children applications. Financial disputes are also a core area of strength, particularly those involving family businesses, trusts, farming businesses and landed estates.

Practice head(s):Jane Cowley;

Other key lawyers:Amrit Hunjin;


'Jane Cowley is extremely competent and responds to communications quickly and efficiently'.

Work highlights

  • Acting for an applicant wife in financial remedy and divorce case valued at approximately £15m.
  • Acting for the wife in divorce and financial remedy case totaling £3m.
  • Acting for the father in Schedule 1 Children Act matters
  • Acting for the husband in divorce and financial remedy case which involved assets in the UK, USA and Japan.

Roythornes Solicitors fields a team, which is noted for its ‘good depth’ and ‘immediately impressive service’. Cases involving company, partnership, trust and pension assets are among the drivers of the work. Pre- and post-nuptial settlements, separation and divorce, Inheritance Act claims and civil partnership disputes are among other matters handled. In addition, child-related instructions include adoption matters, Children Act proceedings and child maintenance disputes. Nick Ingrey leads the team, which is reputed for its handling of farming cases.

Practice head(s):Nick Ingrey;


'The team's knowledge of the subject is first-rate. They are friendly and approachable. Clear in their views, accurate in their presentation, able to set a timetable which works for all parties, and most importantly understand of the client's requirements'.

'Every member of the team is completely professional and empathetic'.

'The service is not just professional and efficient, it is also personal'.

'I felt they really cared about my case and the implications of the outcome. I could not recommend them more highly'.

'Nick Ingrey is exceptional. He looks at every detail of a case and leaves no stone unturned'.

Work highlights

  • An ongoing and complex agricultural matter in which the team are defending the husband’s assets for which the wife has made an application for Maintenance Pending Suit.
  • Acted for the husband who ran a successful farming business in a divorce matter.
  • Acted for the wife in resolving the Children Act proceedings.
  • Representing two adult sons of the deceased in a matter in which his second wife brought a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, following his death.

Sushma Kotecha and Maria Coster are new names to Stowe Family Law LLP, following the recent opening of the firm’s Nottingham office. The pair joined from Shoosmiths LLP and John Hooper & Co respectively. They cover all types of family law issues, including divorce, prenuptial agreements, financial settlements and investigations, cohabitation, grandparents’ rights and international child abduction. Specific experience is held in relation to matters involving individuals with high incomes, businesses and trusts.

Practice head(s):Sushma Kotecha;

Other key lawyers:Maria Coster;


'Maria Coster is always easily accessible and gives a measured and insightful opinion. Her expertise cannot be praised enough and she is highly recommended'.

'Approachable and professional practice that has the client's interest at heart'.

'Stowe Family Law are forward thinking and are not short of new, exciting ideas of how family law should be in the ever evolving market'.

'Sushma Kotecha leads the team with fresh, innovative ideas. She is very pragmatic in her approach to cases, always thinking outside the box. Maria Coster has a great head on young shoulders. Her advice and views on cases are much wiser than others of her experience'.

'Sushma Kotecha is a strong advocate, experienced, committed and a worthy opponent. She is committed to her clients and highly regarded as a solicitor and family mediator. Maria Coster is well liked and highly regarded locally'.

'The family team are thoroughly prepared and deal with complex financial remedy issues'.

'Sushma Kotecha is straight talking, pragmatic and knowledgeable'.

Personal tax, trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Browne Jacobson LLP is praised by clients for the ‘range and depth of its expertise’. Led by the ’extremely accessibleLucy Worwood, the department is engaged by business owners for succession advice and ownership structuring, and it also assists large estates with business, agricultural and tax issues, including the maximisation of the benefits of business and agricultural relief for inheritance tax purposes. Additional pillars of the practice are offshore trusts and trust structuring.

Practice head(s):Lucy Worwood;

Other key lawyers:William Colacicchi;, Wenna Thompson;


'Browne Jacobson provide legal expertise across all sectors, both public and private and have excellent teams who specialise in their own specific fields. Their size enables them to offer more expansive advice and knowledge than some smaller firms'.

'Browne Jacobson LLP provide a first class service. Their work as a team is seamless and they are meticulous with the detail, their response times are excellent with strong industry knowledge'.

'Lucy Worwood has the skill of explaining even complicated legal issues in simple English, and is meticulous with the detail, never failing to dot an 'i' or cross a 't'. Her work is always of the highest standard'.

'They have excellent knowledge of complex trusts'.

'Wenna Thompson is friendly, knowledgeable and applies a pragmatic common sense to the application of the law.'

The ‘very professional’ team at Geldards LLP, which 'thinks outside of the box’, advises entrepreneurs who have amassed their own wealth on legacy planning and wealth preservation. Accountants, professional tax advisers and financial advisers are also among the firm's clients. Erica Thomson, who is an expert in wealth preservation and tax planning, jointly leads the practice alongside Jaclyn Barnes. Barnes specialises in trust creation, the administration of complex probates and lifetime tax and estate planning.

Practice head(s):Erica Thomson; Jaclyn Barnes;


'Erica Thomson is very approachable, on your side and quick to respond to queries'.

'Erica Thomson is extremely professional, personable, competent and knowledgeable'.

Work highlights

  • Represented the client in the administration of an estate of £4m assets in five jurisdictions.
  • Represented the client in the administration of her late father’s £4m estate; the father was non-resident and the majority of the assets were located in Switzerland.
  • Representing the trustees in the administration of two trusts totalling £8m.
  • Represented the client in establishing a family investment company.
  • Advising client with business assets on estate planning and business succession and protecting family wealth for next generation.

The ‘extremely professional’ practice at Hewitsons has maintained an ‘excellent local reputation over numerous years’. Inheritance tax planning, trust reorganisation and administration, overseas assets and capital gains tax are among its specialist areas. The ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘thoroughClare Colacicchi is a standout name and is highly recommended for trust, tax and property advice in relation to landed estates. She is also an expert on capital taxes. Associate Antonia Cooper is active in a broad range of private client matters and is valued for her 'knowledge' and 'professionalism'.

Practice head(s):Daniel Curtis;

Other key lawyers:Clare Colacicchi; Catherine Ball; Carolyn Bagley; Antonia Cooper;


'Strong attention to detail. Always quick to respond to queries and easy to make appointments. Excellent reputation locally over many years'.

'They are caring and understanding. Relate well with individual needs'.

'Antonia Cooper and Catherine Ball's knowledge is valued and they are professional throughout'.

'Clare Colacicchi is most efficient, thorough, very approachable and trustworthy'.

'Clare Colacicchi is always willing to help and advise. She makes one feel at ease and makes sure any issues are clearly explained'.

Rothera Sharp Solicitors fields a ‘friendly, approachable and professional’ team. Illustrative of its breadth of expertise, it advises on asset protection, will execution, estate administration, trusts, inheritance tax and tax planning. Practice head Jayne Smith has specialist knowledge of probate, powers of attorney and the Court of Protection; her team is particularly reputed within the charity sector.

Practice head(s):Jayne Smith;

Other key lawyers:Christina Yardley; Karen Hayward;


'They are caring, respectful and work with the client so that the customer experience is excellent. They are responsive and follow up on matters and always do it with warmth and a smile'.


Work highlights

  • Advised client on an estate worth £1.3 million where a deed of variation enabled them to claim an additional nil rate band and save the estate £50,000 in inheritance tax.
  • Advised clients on an estate where there was a dispute over ownership of a property left in a will to The National Trust with a successful outcome.
  • Advising the daughter of the deceased, whose family had been administering his £1.9 million estate for more than two years in the belief he had died without issue, to take over the administration and pursue her rights as sole beneficiary.

Clients regard Roythornes Solicitors as a ‘market leader in the regions in which it operates’. Noted for its land and farming focus, the team specialises in estate administration involving agricultural and business assets as well as will preparation, capital tax planning, Court of Protection matters, Stamp Duty Land Tax advice and business succession. The elderly client sector is also a key strength, with the group possessing expert knowledge in managing incapacity. Names to note are Elizabeth YoungJarred WrightSarah Banner and Paul Thompson.

Practice head(s):Elizabeth Young; Jarred Wright; Sarah Banner; Paul Thompson;


'Jarred Wright is an exceptional private client lawyer with a particular emphasis on farmers and landed estates'.

' A well focused team on the clients requirements and ability to be pro-active in their approach'.

'Good working relationship and sensible practical advice from the relevant partners and associates'.

'They fully understand the objective of their client instructions and help in a number of ways to achieve that objective'.

Work highlights

  • A technical estate matter dealing with life interests and advising executors.
  • A very complex probate application requiring expertise in the foreign domicile status of the deceased.
  • A complex £2m estate which required the set-up of a trust to protect the assets for one of the beneficiaries.
  • A detailed will and LPA matter which on investigation required the amendment of partnership  agreements to ensure clients were not penalised.
  • Advice was given in respect of the complex SDLT provisions of Schedule 15 Finance Act 2003 on a proposed £25m land purchase.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP acts for a wide range of clients, such as high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs and families with inherited wealth. The scope of its work is also varied, spanning wealth management, tax planning, trust creation and administration, high-value deputyships and succession planning. Also notable is that farming clients value the team's expertise in Agricultural Property Relief and other sector specific areas. Suzanne Leggott and Virginia Harvey jointly lead the practice which includes the highly recommended Sarah Brack, a specialist in assisting elderly and vulnerable clients in addition to Court of Protection matters.

Practice head(s):Suzanne Leggott; Virginia Harvey;

Other key lawyers:Paul Horton; Mark Dunkley;

Actons’ practice is ‘characterised by understanding, professionalism, speed and efficiency’. Mandy Kelly heads up 'an extremely competent team' and her knowledge of trust and estate planning is 'outstanding’. The team is also well-regarded for wills, Court of Protection matters, Powers of Attorney, elderly client issues and tax planning. Clients ‘cannot speak too highly’ of recently promoted associate Bindiya Patel.

Practice head(s):Mandy Kelly;

Other key lawyers:Bindiya Patel;


'An effective, well-managed practice'.

'Mandy Kelly is concise, hands on and effectively very good in her client relationship'.

'Actons provide a very personal service to their clients and in particular with regard to the private client team who deal with trusts and wills'.

Work highlights

  • Dealing with all aspects of a multi-million pound, complex estate from the early and unexpected death of the deceased to the conclusion of the administration.
  • Dealing with a multi-million pound UK estate with international assets.
  • Administering a self-created, multi-million pound trust created by a high-net worth client.
  • Hospital bed will involving extra safeguards to ensure client had capacity and was not swayed by family members.
  • Dealing with a £1m+ value UK estate with a significant business element.

Flint Bishop LLP routinely acts on tax planning for high-net-worth individuals, and it also covers wills, estate administration, probate, trusts, Court of Protection and elderly client matters. Led by Claire Rudkin, the practice is increasingly active in cross-border matters and represents business owners, entrepreneurs and farmers, among others.

Practice head(s):Claire Rudkin;

Other key lawyers:Kirsten Wood; Will Harper;


'They are very professional, very knowledgeable, always meet their deadlines and always stay in touch'.

'Kirsten Wood is absolutely first class in terms of knowledge, timeliness of preparing the complex documents and advice'.  

Freeths LLP fields dedicated teams for tax and estate planning, trust administration, probate and wills. Trusts and inheritance tax are also core strengths, as is estate administration, including matters with a cross-border element. Scott McKittrick heads up the practice, which was bolstered in 2018 by the arrival of senior associate Charlotte Royal from Browne Jacobson LLP ; she adds to the team’s strengths in technical trust and tax issues.

Practice head(s):Scott McKittrick;

Other key lawyers:Nigel Cullen OBE; Charlotte Royal;

Langleys Solicitors LLP is home to an ‘excellent trust and probate team’. It is acclaimed for its ‘in-depth knowledge of inheritance tax’, particularly in relation to the agricultural sector and business relief. It also has expertise in capital gains tax and onshore trusts, as well as elderly client and Court of Protection work. David Wood and Amy Allison lead the practice, which is also sought out for complex wills. Amanda Voakes departed to join Chattertons.

Practice head(s):David Wood; Amy Allison;


'Amy Allinson  is brilliant. Hester Mills is exceptional'

'David Wood has a wealth of knowledge in inheritance tax, planning and private client work. He can engage with clients, helping them to understand the actions being taken, whilst providing an overall professional pragmatic approach to IHT and will planning'.

Work highlights

  • Dissolving a trust including farmland, potential development sites and a farming business.
  • Advice concerning restructuring of land holdings and the creation of a new partnership.
  • Inheritance Tax Planning including properties in Scotland.
  • Complex probate and administration of estate consisting of farmland and a share in a farming business.
  • Advising Trustees and administration of three high value family trusts,

Nelsons Solicitors Limited provides high-net-worth clients and partner organisations with planning options in relation to inheritance tax. Also among its caseload is high-value trust administration work, independent investment advice and asset protection. Jane Sutherland serves as the overall practice head. The firm is also home to a dedicated Court of Protection team, which is led by Richard Grosberg.

Practice head(s):Jane Sutherland;

Other key lawyers:Richard Grosberg; Helen Salisbury; Nadia Faki; Craig Staten-Spencer; Catherine McCannah;


'The team is friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. They have always answered queries promptly'.

'Helen Salisbury and Craig Staton-Spencer are both experienced, explain things clearly and thoroughly and do additional research when required. Both are friendly while remaining professional'.

'There is excellent communication with all members of the team. If one is off then always someone to help'.

'Richard Grosberg is highly knowledgeable and experienced. He is able to see the whole picture and provides proactive advice'.

'Catherine McCannah on wills and inheritance tax issues has always been a pleasure to deal with and I have been impressed by the amount of homework she has obviously done prior to each consultation'.

Wilkin Chapman LLP is home to a team of ‘accessible lawyers with the right expertise and a practical approach’. Renowned for its agricultural and trust knowledge, the practice also assists clients with estate planning (specifically in relation to family succession), asset protection, tax mitigation and mental capacity issues. The practice also acts for a number of vulnerable and elderly clients, supporting them on care provision issues. Lisa-Jane Howes heads up the practice.

Practice head(s):Lisa-Jane Howes;

Other key lawyers:Imogen Fay Holmes; Emma Carr;


'Keen interest and attention to detail in identifying and managing requirements and meeting expectations with a view to building relationships and delivering results'.

'Imogen Fay Holmes has a natural empathy and adapts her approach to suit client needs'.

'Imogen Fay Holmes is conscientious, knowledgeable in the administration of trusts and estates and very prompt in replying to any correspondence or queries.  She is also very approachable, uses plain English and understands the requirements of charities, making her very easy to deal with'.

At Wilson Browne Solicitors, core pillars of the practice include the administration of estates, trusts and tax planning, powers of attorney and wills. Its team also has specialist knowledge of the charity sector, where it acts as trustee and clerk to trustees in relation to various charity-related trusts. The group, which is led by Neelam Maher, also acts for a number of elderly clients. Court of Protection matters are another strength, with the firm having a dedicated department in this area.

Practice head(s):Neelam Maher;

Other key lawyers:Vicki Pearce;


'They are approachable, understanding, compassionate and fair'.

'Always a friendly relaxed approach, which suggests no time restraints.  Followed by a professional informative advice if needed'.

'Vicki Pearce and the team within the private client department take time to understand the client's requirements, situation and provide clear and focused advice'.

'The Court of Protection team has a much better command of health and welfare matters than other CoP teams who practice solely as Deputies'.

'Vicki Pearce is efficient and hugely professional at all times'.

Work highlights

  • Complex estate administration with contentious intricacies.
  • An intestacy matter with unknown beneficiaries and administrators.
  • Acting as trustees in relation to a 50% share of a property whilst the other 50% remains in contentious proceedings.
  • Administration of intestacy estate involving 28 beneficiaries.
  • Estate administration with missing beneficiaries.

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